I was ready to take the plunge and start living my dream as a full-time artist.
Long hours goes into living my dream, but trust me its worth it. I spent years daydreaming about becoming a full-time artist, but l kept making excuses and after fourteen years working a full-time office job, l decided to start living my dream. 2021 was an incredibly creative and rewarding year for me, and l am going to share with you what l have learned about being a full-time artist this past year.
If you are thinking about quitting your daytime job to fulfill your dream, don’t wait to take your leap of faith. If you have the drive and passion, you can do it!
Here are a few tips that l am going to share with you and a few words of advice as to what you can expect.
For me, it started with a vision, and anyone who knows me well, can tell you that l put all my energy into fulfilling a happy life . I knew that financially it would be a huge change. l can honestly say that if you are able to save money to help you along the way, then you are already off to a great start.
This past year has been an adjustment and l am not going to lie, you may struggle at first, but you need to keep faith and stay open to new ideas. Being an artist is hard work and a full-time job.
You will need to start thinking of your art as a business, it is no longer just an art practice.
Yes, its true, you will have to wear many hats. It is essential to make money and support yourself if you want to keep living your dream. This is the part of your art career that is extremely essential. "What do you mean l need to spend hours on a computer or cell phone?" Yes, you do! Accounting, marketing, sales, and figuring out social media platforms, the shipping aspect of the business, the client connections and follow ups, applications, learning all about website designs and the list goes on. Trust me there is a whole administrative side that consumes a lot of your time. It is all part of the process. All l can say, is surround yourself with people who know more than you, who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Get insight into areas that you might not be an expert at yet. If you find that it is just too much for you, there are people and businesses out there that you can add to your team. There are a ton of resources in our community, reach out to them, they are amazing at sharing their experiences and advice. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Use the internet, google your questions, find some of your answers on YouTube, and there are many podcasts that offer great information. I live and breath my art career, and l am a firm believer that if you want it bad enough, you will find your answers and learn as you go.
You will need a space/studio.
In May of 2021, l was chosen by the “Tett Centre Creativity Studio Selection Group” as the successful candidate to join Suite 214 in Studio A as a Tett Creativity Studio Resident Artist. I can’t tell you enough, how amazing this opportunity has been. I will tell you all about it in a different blog, so stay tuned for that one. It is important to have a creative space, a space that you can call your own, to make a mess, create your heart out, set up a desk area for administrative work. Store your materials, and hang your art work. I can assure you, in time you will grow as an artist and it is essential to have a studio or space that you can call your own. Having a studio space, is also beneficial in separating your art career from your personal life. I find it easier to balance my life, knowing that l can go to work, yes, it is work, and then go home.
Stay firm on your pricing.
Value your time, your talent is worth it. Although it is important to keep your artwork at a competitive market price and charge at your skill level and experience, you need to remember that your time and talent is valuable. Remember, you are the one in charge of your wage. You will be excited to make a sale, but remember that you can’t be working countless hours for nothing. Not everyone will agree with your pricing and that is ok. I work hard, and l stay true to my worth, l respect myself enough to price my artwork accordingly, so you need to keep true to yourself too, and appreciate and respect your hard work. If you are constantly selling out of your artwork, then maybe its time to up your prices, and don’t be afraid to charge more, especially if your artwork is in high demand.
You should say yes to new opportunities, especially your first year.
This is so important, saying yes to opportunities will only open doors for new ones. You will meet new connections that will pave the way in so many areas such as applying to gallery shows, juried shows, group collaborations, art groups, teaching or instructing art classes, the list is endless. It is important to put yourself out there in your community. In time you will want to say no, as you can get burnt out, but when you are starting out, SAY YES! Just remember, you don’t want to miss out on some amazing opportunities that will gain you experience, don’t be afraid to engage and just be yourself.
You want an art dream, like the ones you see on social media.
HAHAHAHAHA, please excuse my laughing, but l am sure we have all done this. Scrolling through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, idolising those artists you might be following and expecting your art dream to be the same. Well…..let me tell you, that not all days are glorious studio days and wonderful gallery openings. Although many of those artsy posts are inspiring, they can also be a kick to the teeth. Try not to compare your journey to what you see on social media. So many successful artists who are traveling the world, making a great living, can get you all pumped and leave a perception that being an artist is an easy gig. Don’t be fooled by all those pretty pictures, because behind all those beautiful pictures and successful artists, there is a heck of a lot of hard work. Comparing can steal your vision and focus. Stay true to yourself. Try not to compare yourself to others.
Don’t be a perfectionist.
This is one of the most important pieces of advice l will give you. Being a perfectionist has caused me fear. Fear of rejection and fear of failure. This fear can cripple you and any dream you might have, especially in a creative career. As an artist you are constantly putting your whole self on the line and out there for everyone to see, leaving you vulnerable and raw. This can stop you from moving forward and continuing to grow.
Instead, accept where you are in your practice and just know that if you have a vision continue to work hard in achieving where you want to be, fill the gap by practicing your skills and just have fun. Just realize that you don’t need to create a masterpiece every time you are in your studio, l don’t, and that’s ok. Just enjoy your journey, enjoy the process, and live your creative life to the fullest.
Welcome constructive criticism.
It will happen and there is no way around it. Your work will get critiqued, we sometimes don’t ask for it but you’re going to hear it.
I can’t tell you how many times my work is critiqued, and l have learned that it is ok, let it happen. I made the choice to make a living from my art, so l am going to have to put it out there for everyone to see, and that means having it judged too.
If you have made the choice to put your artwork out there, that means that you will run into feedback and sometimes its harsh and sometimes it's fantastic. It will hurt, especially when you have put all your emotions out there, your whole self into your work. It is beneficial to listen and grow from it. Absorb it the best way possible and move forward, you can’t grow if its always positive, let it fuel your motivation for improvement.
If you need a boost, a motivational chat, feel free to come visit me in my studio located at the Tett Centre on the 2nd level, 370 King St. West, in Kingston, Ontario, in studio 214A. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, after all we only have one life to live, so don’t wait for the perfect time. You don’t want to look back and say “Why did l wait so long"? l would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, please feel free to leave me a comment. So, until next time my friends wishing you all a beautiful day.
I am hoping that l can be inspirational and informative. I feel that paying it forward is a great way to live.